Why You Can't Find Dippin' Dots In Most Grocery Stores

Whether it's an ice cream sandwich, a gelato, or the latest Ben and Jerry flavor, you can easily get whatever ice cream you want at the local grocery store. Unfortunately, however, you won't be able to find a tub of Dippin' Dots no matter how hard you look. So, if you want ice cream in the form of tiny balls, you'll have to wait until you're at an amusement park, baseball stadium, or the occasional movie theater, as these are pretty much the only places that offer Dippin' Dots.

Considering how beloved the treat is, it's safe to say they'd be a popular product if sold in stores. However, due to how it must be stored, its availability is extremely limited for an ice cream. The Atlantic reports that in order to preserve its integrity, Dippin' Dots must be stored way below zero at -40 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything higher, and the product will lose its signature shape. Home freezers are about zero degrees, and supermarket freezers, while colder, are negative 10 degrees at their coldest.

Cryogenically frozen ice cream doesn't have a stable shelf life

Freeze-dried food products are known for their ability to withstand the test of time and climate, so it might come as a surprise that Dippin' Dots don't have a stable shelf life. Also, contrary to popular belief, the product cannot be taken into outer space. The reason is simply that Dippin' Dots aren't actually freeze-dried. 

As the company confirmed in the FAQ and About sections of the Dippin' Dots website, their ice cream is actually flash frozen, or cryogenically frozen, meaning it is not the kind astronauts eat. As The Atlantic further explained, Dippin' Dots' ice cream mix is pelletized with liquid nitrogen. In other words, it's quickly frozen at a cold temperature with liquid nitrogen. This has the advantage of locking in flavor for optimal freshness. However, it also means Dippin' Dots must always be stored in the negatives, in freezers unlike the kind at the supermarket.

Even though it's been known as "The Ice Cream of the Future" since its debut in the '80s, it seems like you're still stuck enjoying Dippin' Dots exclusively at the few places it's sold — unless of course you have your own supply of liquid nitrogen at home.